Wow! I’ll start there. 12-year old Maddie lives with her mom, step-dad, twin 9-year old brothers and new baby, Trevor. Every other weekend she also lives with her dad and step-mom. Everything is fine, but there are a lot of annoyances in her life – sharing a room with Trevor, checking in all the time, being there so “date nights” can happen…
Maddie crafts the perfect plan for one perfect weekend with her friends. She tells each of her parents she’ll be with the other, but actually she and two friends will be spending the weekend at her grandparents empty summer apartment. Maddie arrives without a problem. She has the movies and snacks ready. A sick friend canceled the arrival of her friends, and that’s how Maddie finds herself totally alone when the entire town is evacuated. She knew something weird was going on, but she couldn’t risk getting in trouble so she stayed silent.
Abandoned, Maddie befriends George, one of the many pets also left behind, while she awaits her parents return. They don’t come back and Maddie must survive on her own. She keeps her wits about her. She is determined to make it. Even after she loses power, and then water, Maddie and George become adept at using the resources left for them – the library, store shelves, even neighbor’s homes. Maddie learns from every experience. She makes careful choices. she survives a natural disaster, looters and a pack of “gone wild” dogs. The one thing she cannot alleviate is the crushing loneliness.
In an ironic twist, one of the last conversations Maddie had with her brother, Elliot, was about The Island of the Blue Dolphins. He was supposed to identify the main theme. He had three ideas and he wanted to know what Maddie thought. She agreed with him. Karana’s biggest challenge would be finding food and shelter. Still Elliot had wondered. Now, as the protagonist of her own survival story, Maddie knew for sure what the greatest challenge was. Elliot had been right.
Written in verse, the sparse text mirrors the striped down activities of Maddie’s life now that she is focused on life.
Happy Reading! 📚